I passed my MOT

Woof and waggy tail from me, guide dog Fletcher! I’ve some pawsome news to share. I passed my MOT (also known as aftercare). I had my annual test for safe guiding, kerbworthiness and satisfactory emissions and I was pawtastic.

As a guide dog, I’m responsible for keeping my human safe when we’re out and about. This is easier said than done. So the charity Guide Dogs want to make sure I’m good enough and put me to the test. They do this annually with most guide dogs.

First up, obeying commands. Fiona, my wooftastic human, told me to go forward. But where exactly did she mean for me to go?

170921 pawsatthekerb parked car chain

The pavement had split into two levels. The raised pavement to the left of me went nowhere. If I went straight on, there wasn’t much room. There was a car parked in the way and I didn’t want Fiona to hit her hand on it. I could veer in between the poles (you’d say the poles were red and white, but I’m colour blind and can’t make out the colour red). Yep, that’s the best route. Oh but wait, there’s a metal chain connecting the poles. I can go under but Fiona can’t. She’s bigger than me.

Time to go slow. 

Me guide dog Fletcher in harness at the bottom of the screen. Back of head and shoulders showing. Next to me on my right is a large grey car on the pavement. Above my head and just noticeable is a metal chain connecting red and white poles. The gap to go through is narrow. @pawsathekerb

Phew, we made it. I judged the gap pawfectly.

If the gap was too narrow, I’d have to take Fiona onto the road and round the outside right of the parked car. Dangerous, I know. That’s why the charity Guide Dogs is campaigning against pavement parking.

Next up, road crossings. Yep, here I am. Paws at the kerb.

Me guide dog Fletcher paws at the kerb. Yes. My paws are at the kerb even though you can't see them. My golden furred head is in the way. You can seen the back of my shoulders too. I'm standing in front of the road which has

I’m good at finding the button for pedestrian crossings too.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well just my top half just beneath the pedestrian crossing button. In the background is an empty road, some pedestrians and a glass fronted office block. @pawsatthekereb

That’s the easy bit. We have to weave in and out all the other humans crossing the road.

Me guide dog Fletcher crossing a side road. I'm about a third of the way across and in front of me are a few humans. One with a wheelie suitcase. Another with a mobile phone. @pawsatthekerb

Time to turn right. Oh no, bin in the way and more humans in our path.

170921 pawsatthekerb bin humans

Hang on, Fiona, I’ll get you to where you want to go.

And so we continue.

At last, we’re on the final straight. I recognise where we are. Now gently does it, there are two children ahead playing on the pavement.

Me guide dog Fletcher guiding along a narrow pavement on a side road. There's a white parked car on the road. In front of me are two small childen, one is about the same height as the car. The other one is 30cm shorter. I've blanked out their faces. @pawsatthekerb

Finally, we make it back to the Guide Dogs offices and here’s the door, Fiona. Reckon I deserve a treat. Lots of treats.

Me guide dog Fletcher in my white Guide Dogs' harness with yellow handle. I'm standing in front of a grey office door showing my human where it is. @pawsatthekerb

Of course, it’s not all work and no play. Here am I playing with fellow guide dog Bertie, a Labradoodle, in a country park with cows and a river. Bit different to the city streets…

Me guide dog Fletcher a labrador golden retriever cross, with golden fur, having fun in a country park with fellow guide dog Bertie a golden labradoodle. We're similar sizes and ages. We're running on the lush green grass. In the background is a bench and three cows. @pawsatthekerb

Woof and paw, guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. For those of you who’ve been following this blog, my health is much better. Allergies under control. I get to see a consultant next month to make sure that niggle in my back isn’t anything serious. Paws crossed. And because of all my earlier stopping, I’ll have another MOT at the end of the year. 
P.P.S. As always, grateful for all your pawsome comments. Drop me a line…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, September 2017.

 

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Bunny Albert’s birthday bash

Woof and waggy tail from me guide dog Fletcher!

I know. I’m late with this blog post. I’ve been running out of puff recently and haven’t been feeling great. The vet reckons I have allergies and I’m on anti-histamines. The medication makes me feel wooftastic. We’re working out the right dosage and frequency for me at the moment and then I’ll be even more waggy tail.

Anyway when I talk about being late, my human – the pawsome Fiona – mutters something about the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. That brings me to this tale about my friend bun Albert and his pawtastic birthday bash.

This is Albert. He’s woofderful.

My friend bunny Albert. His fur is mostly brown and heis ears are darker, almost black with lighter patches. His face is in the center with his droopy ears. Behind him is a dark green circular opening to a bunny run. There's a bit of red strawberry on the grey carpet. @pawsatthekerb

Now what do you get a bunny for his birthday? Well, thanks to my friends at the Bunnington Post and other four paws on Twitter (yep I tweet, no scratch that, I bark on Twitter), I knew what to get. Something to knock over. Something to chew on. Here I am with stacking cups and willow ball presents.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well my head and gront paws in my golden fur. I'm lying down staring down at a white box with a pic of green, blue, red and yellow stacking cups. To your right is a brown woven basket containing a big willow ball. Brown ball made from twigs as far as I can tell. Rabbit stuff. @pawsatthekerb

Albert kept me waiting. And waiting. He wouldn’t come near me or my humans. Look. He’s on one side of the room near his bunny tunnel and I’m at the other.

Me guide dog Fletcher with my head just visible at the bottom of the photo. At the top of the photo is bunny Albert. He's at one end of the room and I'm at the other. You can just about see us. There are some helpful arrows pointing to each of us. Other objects in the room is a light brown wooden coffee table and legs of humans. @pawsatthekerb

I was on my best behaviour and was very calm. Albert is very little and, even though we’ve met before, I didn’t want to scare him. When he came close, half a dog’s length close, I did not move. I did not eat my treats. Let me say that again. I did not eat my treats. Food is very impawtant to me. Oh the sacrifice. The green Kong toy has untouched food in it!

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down with my head up. I'm staring to the left at bunny Albert. In between my golden paws is a green Kong Y-shaped toy with untouched food in it. Bunny Albert is on the left of the pic sitting on a bed of hay in a red shallow plastic box. In between us is a huge gap. About 50cm in human speak. And a wooden coffee table. @pawsatthekerb

And still Albert kept his distance.

Then all the humans, and there were a lot of humans, made funny screeching noises. I’ve been told it was singing. And Albert’s cake arrived. Here it is. Albert got some of the strawberries (I was not allowed any but got fusses from lots of humans).

Yummy cake which I didn't get any of. on the top are strawberries dipped in chocolate with their stems on. Diamond thins of milk chocolate. They are in between the strawberries. The cake is circular with a white buttercream coating. Not sure what it's resting on. @pawsatthekerb

After the humans had finished eating and most of them had left, Albert decided to say hello. I tried to #bemorebun but no nose bumps for me this time. Albert checked out one of my paws.

Me guide dog Fletcher with my friend bun Albert. We're facing each other side on. Albert is sniffing out my right paw. I'm trying to be as still as possible. @pawsatthekerb

Then he checked out my other paw.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down very still with my golden head alert and upright. My friend bunny Albert is checking out my left paw. I've golden fur. Albert's fur is patchy dark brown. @pawsatthekerb

Afterwards, we chatted a little before going home. It was a pawsome birthday bash. Though at the end, I was starving…

Woof and paw, guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Sending Haas, one of the Bunnington Post, get well wishes! He’s just returned home after staying overnight at the vets for not properly processing his food.
P.P.S. Thank you all for reading and following my blog posts. I’ve been with my humans, Fiona and Andy, for two years now. Happy anniversary to us. Now where’s my anniversary cake…?

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, August 2017.

My first music gig

Woof again from me guide dog Fletcher! Hope you’re all pawsome and are enjoying good weather?! I’ve been out and about all over the place since I blogged last. I’ve been to my first music gig. It was called “Common People”. It was pawtastic and in a grassy park [which is really good for me as I love smelling the grass].

I excelled in my guiding. I knew exactly where to guide my human, the fabulous Fiona. She knew the vague direction she needed to go but that was it. I was in charge of navigation.

We weaved in and out many times. There were lots of people everywhere in all sorts of clothing.

Me guide dog Fletcher, well the back of my head and shoulders in the right hand corner of the photo. The rest of the photo are the legs and upper bodies of men. Some are wearing shorts and trainers, others jeans, some have ripped t-shirts on. @pawsatthekerb

And more people.

Me guide dog Fletcher once again guiding through the crowds. You can see the back of my head and shoulders in the far right corner of the photo. The rest of the photo shows men and women from the shoulders down. Most of them are wearing shorts which are different shades of brown. Many of the t-shirts are shades of blue. @pawsatthekerb

Human no. 2, also known as Andy, could just about keep up with the two of us. He wanted to stop and ask the way. But I cracked on. I knew, somehow, that I had to head to accessible viewing platform. 

Once I got my humans to where they needed to go, I decided it was time to snooze.  I’m very good at snoozing.

Me guide dog Fletcher part in the sun and shade. The sun bringing out the shades of my golden fut. You've got a head shot of me snoozing. I'm resting on big teddy and the leg of my human is just in shot. @pawsathekerb

My humans enjoyed themselves in the sunshine listening to the music.

Head shots of my humans in the sun against a blue sky with a flag in the background. One white male with glasses and dark brown hair. One light brown woman wearing dark glasses. Her hair is glack and she's in white and blue with a red bag strap showing. Both are smiling at the camera. @pawsatthekerb

The music had a good beat and seemed quite tuneful. I’ve no idea who was playing. Everyone at the gig seemed happy and many danced to the music.

My view of the Common People stage. The stage is rectangular and in the distance surrounded by flags and green trees. Most of the photo are people of different ages standing with their backs to the camera in the sunshine. @pawsatthekerb

Whilst the loud music didn’t seem to bother me, my humans kept a close eye on me in case it was too much. I spent most of the time snoozing. Though every once in a while I popped my head up to say hello. And to check if it was time for a treat.

Me guide dog Fletcher a golden fur Labradaor Golden Retriever cross. Well my head looking up to camera. You can just make out my body between the jean covered legs of my human. I'm on a viewing paltform and in the background is a water box and my Guide Dog harness. @pawsatthekerb

After a while, it was time to go. And I guided brilliantly on the route back taking my humans to the exit, which was different to where we came in, with very little direction. Somehow I just knew where I was going. My humans were pretty clueless.

We passed lots of people. Weaving in and out again. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to snaffle all the lovely food abandoned on the grass. Too busy focusing on keeping my human safe.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Just the back of my head and shoulders. I'm guiding my human to the right as there's a group of people in front of us sat on the grass. To the left of me are more people. These people are dressed in shorts, trainers and t-shirts. @pawsatthekerb

I was pawtastic! Even if I do say so myself. And I got lots of fusses for being so good.

Now unfortunately that was one of the few times that I have been paw perfect in the last two and a half weeks. Can’t quite put my paw on it as to why that is. I seem to have disrupted my guiding flow. Fiona, my human, is being very patient with me and continues to use positive reinforcement techniques.

On Sunday, I got to guide in my new harness for the first time (more on that later) and it feels good. I think my back feels better for it. Dog osteopathy and follow-up with the vets next week (if you’re new to my blog, see my earlier blog posts about my back surgery via my list of blog posts page). Hopefully the vet will allow me to play fetch again and have longer playtime in the park [running around, twisting and turning is soooo good for me, woofy smile]. Wish me well in getting my guide dog mojo back…

Woof and paw, 

Guide dog Fletcher. 

P.S. Found out that Stanley, my brother (see my guide dog family post), is back with Guide Dogs. They’re making sure he’s in tip top shape and up to speed with the latest guiding techniques before matching him with a new guide dog owner.

P.P.S. Thank you to every human and four paws following my blog. You’re very impawtant to me. And I love your comments. If you’re not following, then don’t miss out. Follow me…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, May 2017.